South Dakota’s New Sales Pitch: ‘Why Die on Mars When You Can Live’ Here?

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The Governor’s Office of Economic Development was brainstorming ideas for how to get young people to come to South Dakota. It realized the state may have a bit of a perception problem after a recent focus group featured a person who called the state “a barren wasteland,” the Argus Leader reported this weekend. It was clear that people outside the state mostly knew it for its tourist attractions.

So the state tried to think of a place that could also be described as a barren wasteland, but was also somewhere people wanted to live. Obviously, they thought of Mars.

Several private companies have successfully convinced thousands of people to volunteer for the opportunity to move to a planet that cannot yet support human life. MIT researchers and NASA officials agree that these trips would probably not end well.

South Dakota, on the other hand, is somewhere you can move to and stay alive. A new ad notes that the state is “abundant in oxygen.”

The state knows that the Mars pitch won’t be trendy forever. “We think the Mars thing is right now,” economic development commissioner Pat Costello told the Argus Leader. “Once this runs its course, we’ll hitch our message to the next wagon.”

Hopefully this means that South Dakota will explain this summer why the state is definitely a better place to live than Tatooine or Jurassic Park.